Azizi and Mable Kambalame

Azizi (35) and Mable Kambalame (24) have been married for four years and have one child together. Azizi’s four children from his first marriage also live with them, as well as six orphaned relatives. The children’s ages range from 4 to 15.

Azizi is a local primary school teacher and the family lives at the school, paying 10,000 Malawi KWA (£11.48) per month in rent. His monthly salary is 80,000 Malawi KWA (£91.84). They joined the MicroLoan Foundation group a year ago to take a loan after they heard about it from other group members. They decided to join because they had so many children to look after which was proving very difficult financially. To date, they have saved 8000 Malawi KWA (£9.18) and are saving around 2000 Malawi KWA (£2.29) every two weeks within the group. Neither of them had taken out a loan before.

With the loan Mable is able to buy sweet potatoes which she then sells locally, making an average of KWA 5000 per week.  The profits have allowed her to buy a bicycle enabling her to travel further and more easily, which is very useful for grocery shopping. Azizi’s salary is used for food, rent and other basic necessities, as well as the costs of primary schooling for all their children and dependants – including uniform, books etc.

Both Azizi and Mable went to school and think education is important. Mable attended primary school until year 4, and Azizi was able to finish secondary school, the fees for which were paid by his parents. Azizi’s late father was a teacher, and Azizi admired his job and his well-dressed appearance – he was never without a tie! It was this that inspired him to apply for Kisongu Teacher Training College. He was awarded a place on the two year programme, with his fees paid by the government. He started teaching in his current school in 1994 when he left college. He teaches multiple subjects – English, Chichewa, science and technology, life skills, agriculture.

Mable and Azizi’s future plans are to keep saving so they can buy farming supplies, afford secondary school fees and build a house in the village. They already have the land and the bricks have been made in readiness for construction work to start next year. They are optimistic about the future and intend to continue to take loans from MicroLoan Foundation until they can become fully self-reliant.

Mable has appreciated being part of the MicroLoan loan group, particularly the unity it has engendered amongst the members and the opportunity to hear others’ plans and news about their businesses, and to learn from them. She has found the most important lessons to be taken away from the training have been relevant to them as a family; that is to be united and help each other to save. She and Azizi work as a team, making it easier to repay the loan together and to generate more income.